4 july 2014The American ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, just had time for a cup of coffee in a café before the initiation into Christian the Fourth´s Guild started in Duus´ Vinkjælder in Aalborg. And he was happy for that cup of coffee because he – like the other Guild members-to-be – had to sit with an empty glass until the end of the ceremony, while the benchers often raised their glasses and called out: “Our Thirst First”.

The ambassador was initiated along with other prominent persons at the Rebild festivities: the two head-speakers, Maersk CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen and photo-model Malene Belafonte together with their spouses. The American military attaché to Denmark, Michael Wise, and the host of the Rebild festivities, Mayor of Rebild, Leon Sebbelin, also became members of the Guild.

One of the persons to be initiated was not present in the Vinkjælder, but this was according to plan: 97 years old Esben Christensen, who is living in Portland, Maine USA, was initiated “in absentia” represented by his son, Thomas Christensen. Esben Christensens parents emigrated to USA in 1914 – a couple of years before Esben was born. Esben is as a former soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division and is a veteran from D-day in 1944, and he served the rest of the war in Europe.

His nephew is Egon Hygum Thomsen who from 1995 to 1997 was technical chief at Airstation Aalborg. He was at that time made a member of the Guild, and he has now facilitated the initiation of the old veteran – even if he could not be there in person. His son, Thomas Christensen, who now is also initiated into the Guild, considers himself a genuine Danish-American. He proudly says: “My grandparents were Danish, all four of them”.

See the pictures

Photo: Jens Morten og Fini Ryming